Although psychologists say that the only healthy reaction to a betrayal is to forgive and forget, many people find it too difficult and find themselves asking – “will I ever get over my husband’s affair?”
Recovering from infidelity isn’t just a linear experience that begins with the shock that gets better over time. Instead, it is a life-shattering event.
It’s an individual journey for every couple based on many factors. Besides, the connection you had with your husband before the affair is gone.
So, it’s okay if you take a break, feel and express your sadness
It’s also okay to ask yourself “why do I continue to suffer? Is there something I can do to move beyond without collapsing? Why am I still hurt so badly?”
Remember, it’s quite normal to struggle, although the experience is technically over. So don’t be too hard on yourself for your inability to just put it all behind you.
Should You Forgive Your Husband’s Affair?
The revelation of infidelity has probably been an enormous shock in your life and the biggest threat to your mental health.
And right when that happens, you’ll be asking yourself, “should I forgive my husband’s affair?” as your mind is in severe turmoil.
So, it’s not a surprise why all the hurt comes in waves or why your past hits in new ways. As Mark Lawrence once said:
“Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over until you know every touch and corner, but still, you’ll find an edge to cut you.”
Usually, when we are hurt by someone, we want them to understand how heavy betrayal is.
Your husband may believe he knows how you feel, but it can take a little while before true empathy shows up. Till that happens, the rest of the healing can’t really continue to make progress.
While you are waiting for empathy, there are actions you can take to decrease your pain.
Even though your husband’s actions created such a situation, there is no guarantee his actions alone will change it.
That is because others can’t make us feel in a particular way— we play a role in determining our own feelings.
The way you feel is usually caused by the way you observe your experiences. So reconsider:
- What is the story you’re telling yourself?
- How often do you think about the affair?
Communication After The Affair
Ending the affair is just the beginning of your healing and getting over the situation.
It’s not unusual for the unfaithful partner to end the affair and suddenly draw the line at it – not wanting to talk about it ever again.
In case you want to discuss it, it may create even more tension between you if he refuses to talk.
However, a partner that had an affair should be open and honest. Although it may feel cruel, it is not helpful or beneficial to hide anything.
Experiences, memories, and situations can all spark off questions, flashbacks, and emotions. You have to feel free to ask questions without being frightened, or it will end your marriage.
Talking about it could be paralyzing to you both. But if you and your husband decide to move on together, you will both have to maintain your responsibility for good communication.
Having a straightforward discussion about the time you need to deal with your thoughts and emotions can be beneficial.
Telling him what you need of him in that period can be good for joining him in the healing process.
Identify And Accept Your Feelings
It’s beneficial to give names to your feelings – instead of letting them churn around. For example, say: I am feeling “furious” or “worried” or “confused.”
Don’t change or chase your emotions. Just observe them.
You can also start a feeling diary where you can write down the time, the feeling, the triggers. Writing it down for a couple of days or weeks will help you recognize specific patterns.
If you observe and accept your feelings without blocking them – they will become less intense and easier to control.
So, rather than allowing your thoughts to go back and forth, write them down. By revealing those notes, you can notice what keeps you stuck in your anger and then work to release it.
Of course, it takes hard work and energy. You can’t just push the angry/not angry button.
Although it’s normal to feel this way, you should do a little self-reflection and introspection. What you have to do is go through some questions;
- Do you still love your husband?
- Have you been thinking about your life without him?
- Do you still hug him with love?
- Did you continue to share your intimate ideas and emotions after the affair?
- Can you forgive your husband’s affair?
Try to accept what they can do and what’s above their limits.
Infidelity Trauma And Emotional Flashbacks
Infidelity trauma is similar to the consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), following the flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and fear of anything that awakens one’s memories of the original trauma.
Keep in mind that you are having flashbacks for a reason. You are not a terrible person just because you can’t forget and forgive (yet).
Most likely, your flashbacks want to let you know there are problems and personal issues that still need to be dealt with. For example, it might be about the affair or something in your marriage that you have to take care of.
So, if you keep ignoring the red flags and warning signs, your subconscious will continue to send them.
Being cheated hits so hard that it can take years to have complete confidence again.
You’ll constantly be asking yourself questions like: “Will I ever move past my husband’s affair?” “Can I really forgive him? Can I ever forgive my husband for cheating?”. But it can be done!
Rebuilding trust is a long, unpleasant process with no guarantees. And it will demand your complete determination to achieve the goal.
However, try to allow your vulnerable side to be seen and leave your ego outside. Both your and your partner’s willingness to show emotion encourages opening up and brings you closer.
Having private moments will help you fix what’s broken.
Think about what could they do or say so that you feel more supported and safe in your marriage?
After you recognize this, try to express those needs to your husband without any restraints.
Sometimes women expect their partners to have a degree of access to their emotions that don’t match their upbringing or character.
For instance, you keep questioning ‘why did you have an affair…’. But, unfortunately, the answers are often difficult to believe because your husband had never been asked before to look deep inside his motives.
If you struggle with connecting and sharing your emotions, therapy can sometimes help you with that. Therapists specialize in helping couples develop their communication skills.
You can learn more about it here.
Focus On The Good Things
What is done – can not be undone.
You are aware that you can’t change what has already happened. So, you are right to fear that “some things can’t change” – the fact he had an affair can’t fade away.
Hence, you have an option. If you really want to stay with your husband and fix your marriage, you choose to forget about it. To let it go. To forgive.
It’s not fair to say that you want to save a marriage if you aren’t truly willing to try to work past all of it.
Both of you will have to concentrate on the good things connecting you. But, you will have to connect even more profoundly and understand that you are both suffering.
One more thing you can do is to build new memories together. New experiences will change the energy, give some new vibes and bring much-needed hope.
It will remind both of you that you can have good interactions.
Coping With The Feeling Of Loneliness
The best thing you can do is to open up to people you trust. Share what you’re feeling. Dealing with the affair alone will only increase your isolation and loneliness.
Become more communicative and make your husband aware of your vulnerability and fragility.
It is recommended to seek the help of a marriage counselor who can work with you on how to reconnect after an affair. Cheating is not an easy thing for couples to deal with, but it’s not impossible either.
A good counselor can also help you process the anger and confusion you feel and determine if staying connected is ultimately the journey you want to take with this person.
Will I Ever Get Over My Husband’s Infidelity?
The decision to forgive is only yours – that is something only you can really know, even though it may sometimes seem that you don’t.
But if you want to but find it difficult, you can always rely on therapy to help bridge the gap. You can read more about it here.
After all, you can build something beautiful with your husband, although it will be completely different. Something new.
You can’t return to the point you were previously, and longing for that will only keep you stuck in pain and anger.
Learning how to let go and be close with your husband after an affair is not a punishment for being with a cheating partner.
It is the shared responsibility of a couple that believes there is something more meaningful than infidelity. And that something — the marriage — deserves putting up a fight to save!